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School’s out: what’s on this summer

Walking In The Sunshine

Are you looking for fun ways to keep your children occupied over the summer holidays? Look no further – there’s an abundance of activities for them to enjoy in Chelmsford over the next six weeks.

Ninja Warrior UK to open in Chelmsford this August

If your little ones love to jump around pretending they’re a ninja, why not take them to Ninja Warrior UK?

Inspired by the popular ITV show, this adventure park is a world of fun for children aged five and over. Kids can climb, jump and swing across a huge selection of obstacles and inflatables. Please note that time slots are one hour long, and the course has varied difficulty levels to tackle.

Kids At A Soft Play Area

Ninja Warrior UK opens on 10 August. Book now to avoid disappointment, as spaces are likely to fill up fast!

Educational themed weeks at Chelmsford Museum

From 25 July–31 August, Chelmsford Museum is running themed history workshops to keep your kids learning through the holidays. Join the History Hackers to explore a different time period each week, from prehistory to the Romans, Saxons and Victorians. Children can get their hands dirty with digging trays, learn Roman numerals as they make Roman coins, roll their own candles to take home, and handle real historical objects.

History Hackers Poster

Visit Chelmsford Museum’s website to see the schedule for each week and book your space(s). Tickets are £5 per child (except the Victorian Toys weeks which are free), and adults go free! Most activities are for ages six plus, except the Victorian Toys weeks, which are for children over three.

The Hive Cafe at Oaklands Park is also open 8am–5pm daily, offering a wide selection of food and drink, so why not stop off for a refresh during your visit to the museum. Check out the menu here.

Fun for all the family at Hylands Estate

For a fun-filled day out, Hylands Estate has so much to offer families. You can explore the estate’s 574 acres, watch your little ones play on the Adventure Castle, enjoy some outdoor theatre, grab a bite to eat at The Deli and try out Essex’s first Go Ape location – all in a single day if you’re ambitious!

Hylands House
Image by Aaron Crowe

Explore the fully accessible Adventure Castle

Take the kids over to Hylands’ award-winning, fully accessible castle-themed adventure playground. The playground has four-meter-high castle battlements, slides and a drawbridge entrance with dedicated play areas. The playground is located near the park entrance, off Greenbury Way.

Take to the trees at Go Ape

Calling all adrenalin junkies! From 29 July Go Ape Chelmsford will open to the public. All ages, from four to 94, are welcome to have a go on the ropes. Go Ape’s 35th location finally brings their physically and mentally challenging treetop courses to Essex!

The outdoor adventure hub features three fun high ropes experiences, with high-speed ziplines, free-fall Tarzan Swings and tricky tree-to-tree crossings. Be one of the first to try the new course and book your tickets now.

Experience a Shakespearian classic as the playwright would have intended

The Lord Chamberlain’s Men invite you to join them on the back lawn of Hylands House on 9 August for an outdoor theatre production of Romeo and Juliet.

With an all male cast, and Elizabethan costumes, music and dance, the timeless love story is presented exactly as it would’ve been in Shakespeare’s time. Bring a chair and a picnic and prepare to be transported to old Verona! Sound up your street? 

Check out the cast below video to find out what you can expect:

More outdoor theatre will be coming to Hylands Estate this summer with Immersion Theatre’s faithful retelling of the beloved tale The Wizard of Oz on 15 August. Book your tickets on the Chelmsford Theatre website.

Catch a film with Adventure Cinema

Adventure Cinema is back with a great selection of popular films to see at Hylands this August! Kids will love watching the magical story of Disney’s Encanto (13 August), or Mario’s adventures in The Super Mario Bros. Movie (12 August).

You can also enjoy a soundtrack of specially curated songs playing before each film. Bring a blanket, camping chair and picnic, and settle down for a film on a giant screen in the open-air!

Find out which other movies are showing and book your tickets soon to avoid disappointment!

Super Mario Bros Movie Led

Fuel your adventures with delicious food at The Deli

Visit The Deli Café at The Stables for a well-earned break on your day out to Hylands. It offers a varied menu that boasts lots of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. Enjoy fresh, made-to-order sandwiches and salads, plus homemade sausage rolls, cakes, pastries and tarts from The Deli’s farm kitchens in West Hanningfield. Tempted? The Deli is open daily from 8am to 5pm.

Chelmsford For You’s Green City is back this August

If you’re passionate about educating your children on environmental issues, you must check out Green City. Organised by Chelmsford For You, Green City is an inspiring event, full of free and engaging family entertainment. It aims to raise awareness of current environmental issues and share ways to better look after our planet.

Green City runs in various locations across the city centre from Monday 21 to Saturday 26 August. Activities include street entertainment, music, poetry, creative installations, shows, story sessions, workshops, a local green market and more. Last year’s popular 50ft Sperm Whale will also be returning, plus an exciting new live music stage in Tindal Square.

The full programme will be shared in early August on the Chelmsford For You website.

Mini and City Camps

A perfect way to burn off some energy over the school holidays, Chelmsford City Sports Mini and City Camps are back for the summer. Chelmsford City Sports offer whole and half day sessions across the summer holidays, which provide a huge range of activities and games for four to 12 year olds.

Early drop-offs are available, plus sibling discounts and childcare voucher payment options – great for working parents. You can browse the wealth of activity options here and watch the below video for a taster of what to expect:

Please note: children aged four and five are only eligible to do one morning or afternoon half camp per day, in line with OFSTED regulations.

For even more sporty fun, Dovedale Sports Centre is hosting a party for children over three on Friday 18 August, 2.30 to 4pm. Come along in your favourite party outfit and dance to classic party tunes. Tickets are £6.50 and can be booked online or by calling 01245 605685. You will need an ourChelmsford card to book.

Heart warming and magical family shows at Chelmsford Theatre

Chelmsford Theatre has a brilliant programme of events for families this summer. Tickets are still available for the charming, Olivier Award nominated The Tiger Who Came to Tea live on stage from 25–27 July. Another Olivier Award nominated show, Dragons and Mythical Beasts brings some magic to the stage from 25–27 August with an imaginative look at some of the most fantastical mythical creatures.

You can also join Ariel; her father, King of the Seven Seas; Ursula, the evil sea witch, and a whole host of fabulous characters in a brand-new adaptation of The Little Mermaid. Coming to the theatre on Monday 28 August, this vibrant take on the classic story brings sparkling scenery, beautiful costumes and an opportunity to meet the characters after the show.

Play in the Park summer 2023

Play in the Park is a series of free, two hour multi-activity sessions for children at various venues around Chelmsford between 24 July and 25 August.

If your child is aged between three and 11, they can join playworkers for a whole host of sports, games and craft activities at a local park. Some sessions also feature more unusual activities such as inflatables, reptile handling and scooter lessons!

Sessions are suitable for everyone, including those with accessibility needs. Although sessions are free, you will still need to reserve your spot via Eventbrite.

Kids Playing (2)

Family discounts at local restaurants, pubs, supermarkets and hotels

Looking for an affordable place to eat out this summer? Many local restaurants, pubs, supermarkets and hotels are offering discounts on meals for families.

Kids Eating Pizza

Check out the below deals and offers from local businesses:

Bills: Up to two kids can eat free all day from Monday 24 July – Friday 1 September (excluding Saturday & Sunday), if one adult orders any main dish (breakfast, lunch, & dinner).

Ego at Running Mare: Come and eat anytime Monday to Saturday before 4pm and enjoy lunch from only £7.95.

The Plough: Kids’ meal deal, consisting of a main meal, drink, and pudding for only £4.95!

Moto Pizza: ​Kids’ Bottomless Pizza for £12.50 or less (depending on the child’s age) from Tuesday to Friday at lunchtime (12-4pm).

Dunelm Pausa Cafés: Get one free main meal, plus two snacks and a drink for every £4 an adult spends.

Hungry Horse Pub: Two adult’s mains accompanied with two kids’ meal deals for just £15, available all day every day from the 1 July to 3 September.

Sainsbury’s Cafe Springfield Superstore: Kids eat for £1 with the purchase of an adult meal from £5.20.

Travelodge: Up to two children aged 15 or under eat free for every full paying adult.

Premier Inn: Up to two under-16s eat breakfast free when an adult orders a full Premier Inn breakfast or meal deal.

Ikea Lakeside: Kids get a bowl of pasta and soft drink for 95p, or any other kids meal for £1.50. Available everyday from 11am.

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Lia Salacuri
Lia Salacuri

Lia writes about what’s on in Chelmsford.